Fred Itua, Abuja
Former governor of Gombe State, Senator Danjuma Goje, has explained why the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami withdrew corruption charges against him.
He also described his recent battle with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged misappropriation of funds as persecution.
The senator also decried the recent outcry that greeted the withdrawal of an anti-corruption case against him by the Federal Government.
He lamented that the case assumed the posture of the persecution instead of prosecution by the anti-graft agency.
Goje, who spoke through his lawyer, Mr. Paul Erokoro, the former governor said it was strange that he was prosecuted for the taking bank loans on behalf of the state, when he held sway as governor.
“The two counts of the charge that were withdrawn by the Attorney-General were an embarrassing triviality.
“It was therefore no surprise to those familiar with the case when the Attorney-General of the Federation withdrew those ridiculous charges. The Attorney-General did the right thing and should be commended for saving the face and the resources of the government, by terminating the futile proceedings.”
“Following a spate of inaccurate and untrue reports in the media on the withdrawal of criminal charges against Sen. Danjuma Goje, it has become necessary for the correct facts to be publicly stated, to avoid genuine misunderstanding by well-meaning commentators and also expose the malicious insinuations of mischief makers.
“First of all, the so-called “N25 billion fraud” that has been bandied about in the media, never featured in the case. The sum total of all the monies mentioned in the charge was about N8 billion.
“Of that total, N5 billion was a loan taken from Access Bank for completion of infrastructural projects such as the Gombe airport, waterworks, numerous roads, Gombe Jewel Hotels, schools, hospitals and rural electrification.
The bank testified in court that the money was properly utilised for the projects. The EFCC investigators also confirmed to the court that the projects were all completed.
“On the N1 billion agricultural loan, the Central Bank testified in court that the loan was utilised in full compliance with the bank’s loan conditions.
“Other witnesses told the court that the governor never awarded any contract for the supply of food to Government House and Government Guest Houses during his tenure for the N1 billion alleged in the charge or for any other sum’’.he concluded.
“The 19 counts of the Charge that were framed around the above monetary issues collapsed during the trial. The prosecution’s own witnesses completely exonerated the defendants. It was this reason that the 19 counts were all dismissed by the court, on the No Case submission.
“The two remaining counts challenged the Governor’s power to approve the recommendation of the Commissioner of Finance that the old, unserviceable buses of Gombe Line, be sold to the public, following the purchase of new ones.
“As every adult in Nigeria knows, the sale of unserviceable vehicles is a routine exercise periodically undertaken by the government and even by private organisations.’’he said.